I Can't Start Because...


In this short post I've tried to gather together all of the main concerns that bookkeepers have voiced to me over the past 10 years, and some of the concerns I had before I started my practice and answer them for you.

Whether you start your practice or not will probably come down to fear.  An irrational fear.  The fear of failure.  There's only one guaranteed way to fail in your bookkeeping business and that's not to even start.  You'll avoid the feeling of failure because you'll tell yourself that it's your decision, but you'll also avoid the potential success.

Here are just some of the things that people have told me put them off starting their practice over the years.

I don't have high enough qualifications

I started my business with standard grade accounts and an ICB level 2. Level 2 was the minimum I needed to get my practice licence.

You don't need to have AAT level 4, or chartered accounting qualifications to be successful in your practice.  You do need a willingness to learn, though.  You also need an understanding of your own limitations and to work within those.


I don't have enough experience

While experience is important, you'll only get it by doing the work. I had no practical bookkeeping experience when I started my practice. I work with people who have successful practices and started with no experience. It doesn't need to be a barrier.

All it means is that you should start out with really simple clients. People like driving instructors, window cleaners, gardeners etc. My first client was a mobile DJ.

When your experience grows, so too can the range of clients you work with.  


I'm not good with the software

There are a few big accounting software providers now. Choose one and focus on learning that. Each has its own training courses and certification.

In most cases learning the software will be free.


What if I don't get clients?

If you work through your marketing in a systemised way, you will. The only time this will be an issue is if you go scattergun or are not focused on who you want to work with.

If you can answer 4 simple questions you'll get enough clients.

Who do you want to work with?
What's their pain, problem or fear?
How can you solve that?
Where do they hang out?

Ultimately, you'll probably only need about 20 clients to be successful.


There are loads of bookkeepers already

You're right, there are. I bet if you do a quick Google search you'll also find loads of accountants, plumbers, driving instructors, hairdressers and every other business you can think of.

If there's enough work for all these people, what makes you think bookkeepers will be any different?


I'm not the best bookkeeper

No, and you never will be.

Regardless of who you are and what you do, there'll always be someone better.

That's not a reason not to do it though.

Would you ever tell your child never to try any sports again if they were beaten in the egg and spoon race? Of course you wouldn't.

You don't need to be the best in the world, you'll be the best for your clients.


What if I fail?

Ah, the big, scary question. What if I fail?

Well, what if you do? One of my favourite poems is about risks. It says:

"To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.

They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live. Chained by their certitudes, they are a slave: they have forfeited their freedom."

So you can shy away from starting your business because you might fail, but what if you don't? What if its the greatest success you Weber have and could change your life completely? What if you miss that by being afraid to take the first step?

What's the worst thing that can happen? You might need to get part time work to supplement your income?


Have I missed anything?  If there's something putting you off that I've not covered, let me know and I'll add it.



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